QMapShack – GPS and Maps on Linux

In one of the comments on my last post on Windows 10, a friendly reader from my home country pointed me at QMapShack as a replacement for QuoVadis. I have been using QuoVadis now for many many years, and it contains my mountaineering history all the way back. All the guiding work, all the track. QuoVadis is a great program, able to work with various commercial digital maps as well as GPS receivers. It only has one disadvantage, it doesn’t work on Linux. QMapShack is very similar in the target audience, but very different in usage. The one big difference is of course the set of maps one can use with QMapShack. Fortunately, Garmin Maps are supported, and since all my maps regarding Japan are Garmin maps, I am now in the process to converting to QMapShack at least for my Japan GPS data.


Let us start with the program I was using since ages, and still are using, QuoVadis. QuoVadis is a great program, there is nothing to complain. It is extremely feature-rich, and above all it can work with many different maps. While working as mountain guide in Europe it was an essential tool for me. I could use the digital raster maps of Austria, Switzerland (SwissTOPO), Germany, France, Italy, as well as Garmin vector maps. For serious work as a professional it was indispensable for me.

Unfortunately, it never worked on Linux. For some time I had a VirtualBox installation of Windows, but that was more a clutch than anything else. So for most of the GPS work I had to reboot my laptop to Windows, do my stuff there, and then switch back to Linux.

QMapShack is far from as feature rich as QuoVadis, but as far as I see now, it does have enough features for me and my mountaineering in Japan. Dealing with GPS units is not a problem, this is the easy part. The difficult part are the digital maps. Fortunately, QMapShack supports Garmin vector maps, the only maps that are (as far as I know) available digitally for Japan.

Getting used to QMapShack is a bit a challenge coming from QuoVadis, but the Wiki help pages allowed a quick start. Within short time I had maps set up. Next step was to download a data from my last weekend trip to Yarigadake, Kitakama-ridge (unfortunately we had to turn back due to rain). Connecting the unit and mounting it was already enough to show up in QMapShack, and allowed me to copy the tracks to my local database.

Next I switched to Windows and exported some tracks from my Japan folder to a gpx file. After rebooting to Linux, I loaded the gpx file into QMapShack and without failure all the tracks and routes showed up, as it can be seen in the above screenshot (click on it to get a bigger version). Also the display of the Garmin map worked perfectly.

Update: Please see the comment section for explanation of the necessary functions. QMapShack does provide similar functionality. Thanks to Oliver for pointing me at it! After some time of working there are a few functions from QuoVadis I am missing for now at QMapShack:

  • Track Processor: it allows you to smoothen a track, reduce the number of points, etc. A very useful tool which I use on each track before uploading it to my blog. For a normally day-trip I usually boil down to 300 points a track, which completely suffices to show the actual track.
  • Visual track editor: In QuoVadis one can edit a track with a visual tool that allows to delete, move, shift points and line segments on the fly. This, too, is extremely useful to clear out wrong GPS points (due to bad reception etc).

Although these two functionalities are missing, all in all I am very happy for now with QMapShack. My next steps are:

  • Import all the Japan related data from QuoVadis to QMapShack – unfortunately there is no script or tool to do this automatically. Since I have a few years of history here, I need to create for each trip a new project and copy the tracks/waypoints/routes for that trip into the project. This is a bit painful, but I didn’t expect that it will work without some manual tweaking.
  • Next I also want to help QMapShack, first by trying to provide a translation into Japanese, and than see what kind of features I am missing or want to have.

Finally, above all, I see a future where I do not need to reboot into Windows for doing my GPS work. For now I will import all the data into both applications, but if QMapShack holds its promises from the first day of usage, I am confident that this will not be necessary in future.


7 Responses

  1. kiozen says:


    thanks for the nice blog about QMapShack. I just wanted to add two things:

    Track Processor: If you switch to the edit dialog of a track there will be a tab called “Filter”. This is what you are looking for.

    Visual track editor: Have a look at the Wiki


    But probably we both have a different point of view regarding spoofed tracks 😉 For me a track is a recording of real data. If there is bad reception, you don’t know the correct position. If you move the bad points it won’t get better. Altitude and time won’t match. And the possition is just what you think. That is why QMapShack will remove time and elevation information from a track if the track is edited like that. In other words, the track won’t be a record of the real hike anymore. It will be as good as any other artificial drawn track.

    For points with bad reception I advise to hide them. For larger sections this will result into a straight line. But I think this is still better than spoofing correct points as it tells me that for that particular part there is no real recording.

    Have fun with QMapShack

    • Hi kiozen,
      thanks a lot, that are great pointers, very helpful. Looking at the hg checkout I see that you are doing most of the programming, big big thanks for this great program!

      Concerning the filter: Interesting, it would be nice if applying one of the filters allows to save the generated track to a new track, so that one can compare the two.

      Concerning editing: I agree with you when it comes to moving/shifting or changing data, but deletion of a point that is just a wrong reception point should not change the time/elevation data. But I guess that is possible with the filters you mentioned first, where one can hide points and then remove hidden points. I will try.

      Thanks a lot again


    • Ok, I am already back: Two things: The filtering is a great idea. I like it a lot. It is not as powerful as the track processor, but it does its job quite well.

      What I am missing now is a tool to graphically select a track point from the map view, and set it to hidden state. Is there a way to do that?

  2. kiozen says:

    Hi Norbert,

    Of course you can save the track each time you applied a filter. But have a look at the tab “Hist.” This is the change history of the item and you can go back and forward in history. Maybe that is even better than producing copies.

    You can hide a complete range of track points by the range tool. See “Select Range” at:


    Btw, Japanese tarnslation would be cool. I always wanted to see how Qt copes with that.


    • Hi Oliver,

      the history I have found already, but it doesn’t let you compare visually the two tracks. I have made a clone, changed color, and then reduced the track points. After that I can easily show both and compare.

      Selection of a track points via range: YES! That is it. Perfect.

      Concerning the Japanese translation: Unfortunately Debian/sid is at the moment in complete stall due to the big gcc transitions, so I cannot install the qtlinguist. I will try to do something as soon as sid is back to normal. I am not native, but I can start something at least 😉

      Thanks again!

  3. anarcat says:

    this. is. amazing. i didn’t know such amazing software existed. and you are right, it is a little obscure without the online help on the wiki. plus, using just the version in jessie is painful, the backport is much better (if only because of the basic OSM layers).

    wow. i have been looking for something like this for so long, thanks for the reference!

  1. 2015/08/15

    […] QMapShack – GPS and Maps on Linux […]

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